April 19, 2012

Countdown to catastrophe

By Elizabeth Norris
Review by
Share this Article:

About to start her senior year, Janelle Tenner has always felt most at home in the water. As she’s on her way home from her lifeguarding job, a truck comes out of nowhere, slams into her car and leaves her with dazzling visions—including one in which she’s drowning.

This dissonant vision becomes the first in many disruptions to her ordinary world. Her rescuer, a boy from her school whom she’s never before noticed, has seemingly brought her back from the dead. Her father, an FBI agent, begins to investigate her accident, which may be linked to a bizarre unsolved case from his past. In the meantime, Janelle finds herself less attracted to her boyfriend Nick and more interested in her strange savior, Ben. While dodging dates with Nick, Janelle joins forces with her best friend Alex to begin an investigation of their own. As they research what may be a case of radiation poisoning, they come upon Janelle’s father’s old notes, a crime scene with horrifically maimed bodies and, most disturbingly, an ongoing countdown with no explanation. While Janelle’s daily life goes on—including debating literature in English class and trying to shield her younger brother from their bipolar mother—the countdown continues to tick.

The suspense in Unraveling is palpable, and the ever-decreasing numbers that begin each chapter add to the story’s sense of urgency. When Janelle discovers the truth about Ben, the countdown, the bodies, her visions and her father’s work, readers will feel as though they, too, have been hit by a truck—but in a good way. Fans of science fiction and suspense will find themselves thoroughly engrossed by author Elizabeth Norris’ debut novel.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book



By Elizabeth Norris
HarperCollins Children's Books
ISBN 9780062103734

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our newsletter to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.